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Chelsea vs Manchester City: No Wembley cheer for Sarri

Chelsea vs Manchester City Match Preview and Predictions

Maurizio Sarri has the chance to earn some much-needed silverware in Sunday's Carabao Cup final but the task facing Chelsea at Wembley could not be much bigger given Manchester City's success in both this fixture and this competition.

[All odds correct at time of publication]

City have made winning this trophy a habit in recent years and they are firm favourites in the League Cup betting to claim a fourth title in six years.

Sarri heads into the match under huge pressure after the way Chelsea's season has unravelled despite reaching the last 16 of the Europa League with Thursday's 3-0 win against Malmo which gave us a clean sweep of winning tips ranging from 8/5 to 10/1 - the latter for the timing of the first goal.

Match information

When is it? Sunday February 24th

What time is kick-off? 16:30

Where is it being played? Wembley

Which channel is it on? Sky Sports Football

Who is the referee? Jon Moss

Chelsea vs Manchester City Betting Tips

Here are our League Cup final predictions for which we also have a range of other markets available:

The lowdown

Manchester City were always going to be the favourites in the Carabao Cup final odds but the way Chelsea were thrashed 6-0 in their Premier League meeting earlier this month has made the Londoners even bigger underdogs.

It is a competition that City could be forgiven for writing off as they battle with Liverpool for the Premier League title and challenge for a first Champions League crown.

That is not Pep Guardiola's way though and the Spaniard has made it clear he is taking the competition extremely seriously.

"I know it's a competition, with all respect, that when you win and you are in the final you are so happy - but when you're out you're not sad," he said.

"But once we are there we take every game seriously. We are in the final and we are, of course, going to try to win it. We have already won one title this season, the Community Shield, and I think we have shown that every game is important."

The fact that Guardiola counts Community Shields and Super Cups among his successes highlights his thirst for titles, of which he has won 24 during his time in charge of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now City.

A 9-0 thrashing of Burton in the first leg of their semi-final showed the ruthlessness which City possess and Chelsea fans must be fearing the worst as they head up Wembley Way, especially in a week when they have already been dumped out of the FA Cup by Manchester United.

There is a danger of punters placing too much emphasis on the recent six-goal drubbing though, and it should be remembered that it was only in December that Chelsea won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to end City's unbeaten start to the season.

City have played eight away games against teams in the top half of the Premier League and won five of them. Four of those victories were by a 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 scoreline so the first of our Chelsea vs Manchester City betting tips is to take the BetStars Odds Boost of 2/1 for a repeat of one of those scores.

First goalscorer tips

Sergio Aguero has only played in two Carabao Cup matches this season but with a trophy on the line, Guardiola is expected to name his strongest line-up for Sunday's final.

That makes Aguero the obvious pick from the first goalscorer odds, having already netted hat-tricks against Arsenal and Chelsea this month, and the BetStars Odds Boost of Aguero to score first at 4/1 catches the eye.

Anytime goalscorer tips

We've already had some success backing Aymeric Laporte to get on the scoresheet this season and he appeals at bigger odds than those on offer for the more obvious candidates.

Laporte has found the net four times this season and none of those were at the Etihad Stadium so we'll take 9/1 for the defender to strike in the anytime goalscorer odds.

Feature previews

If you're interested in more betting tips on this weekend's big matches, check out our in-depth previews below:

Where the game will be won or lost

Chelsea fans will be hoping recent poor results and memories of the 6-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium prompt the stubborn Sarri to change his gameplan.

The Italian has stuck stubbornly to the 4-3-3 formation he favours, with Jorginho as a central playmaker and N'Golo Kante played out of position in right midfield, despite the Frenchman being widely regarded as the best defensive midfielder in the world.

Chelsea have proved inconsistent during Sarri's first seven months in charge but patience is now wearing thin. He was subjected to jeers, boos and chants during Monday's FA Cup loss and some Chelsea fans joined in as United supporters sang "you're getting sacked in the morning".

It will take more than winning the Carabao Cup to keep him in the job for the long term but success on Sunday should buy him at least a bit more time, with the biggest focus being on securing a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Chelsea seem to be the epitome of a cup side. As poor as they have been on occasions, they have beaten Liverpool and Tottenham to get to Wembley and nobody could begrudge them a trophy if they now beat City.

Sarri has spoken of his frustration at struggling to motivate the Chelsea players but in a Wembley cup final that should not be a problem, especially while they are still in the game.

City may have to be patient to find a breakthrough and we're adding Draw HT/City FT to our Chelsea vs Manchester City predictions at Carabao Cup final odds of 10/3.

Ultimately though, City have more quality in their team and Chelsea have certainly found Aguero hard to handle. The striker scored both goals in City's 2-0 win against Chelsea in the Community Shield and then netted a hat-trick in the league clash earlier this month.

All that leads us to add another BetStars Odds Boost to our Chelsea vs Manchester City tips and we're taking 15/8 for Aguero to score in a City win.

Team news

Kepa Arrizabalaga is a doubtful with a hamstring injury, so Willy Caballero could deputise against his former club if the Blues' regular goalkeeper, who missed Thursday's Europa League win over Malmo, is not deemed fit. David Luiz, Eden Hazard, Gonzalo Higuain and Marcos Alonso did not play against Malmo but should come into the side at Wembley, while full-back Davide Zappacosta and winger Pedro could be in the squad following illness.

Manchester City have doubts over John Stones, Gabriel Jesus, Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph. Defender Stones (groin) and striker Jesus (hamstring) will both be assessed after missing the midweek Champions League win at Schalke. Mendy continues to struggle with a knee problem and midfielder Delph has had a number of niggles and suffered illness in recent weeks. Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo (Achilles) is out long term.

Traders' Tips - View from the trading floor

Manchester City blew Chelsea away in the Premier League recently and the poor form of Maurizio Sarri's men mean this should be a comfortable Wembley win for Pep Guardiola's team, who can be backed at 8/5 to win by more than one goal.

Andrew McDermott
@a_mcdermott in Football